Caro Arévalo Crafts Nature-Inspired Art in the Hudson Valley

Peruvian painter Caro Arévalo—now a Hudson Valley devotee by way of Brooklyn—has art down to a science.

HVM: What brought you to the United States from your native Peru?

CA: I moved here 10 years ago, when I was 23. I had finished college and moved to Brooklyn alone, to further my studies in bio art at the School of Visual Arts (SVA) and the International Center of Photography (ICP). My family on both my mom’s and dad’s sides are from the jungle in Peru. I came here to go to school for a year and then return home, but somehow 10 years have gone by and I’m still here.

How was adjusting to fast-paced urban life?

Every time I had a free day I found myself retreating to nature, whether by coming upstate, going to Rockaway Beach, or just spending the day at the park. After six years in Brooklyn working in the restaurant industry, I was able to take the leap into making art full time. Four years ago my husband and I moved to the Hudson Valley, first to Kingston and now we live in Woodstock. We feel very grateful to be here. I’m so much more attuned to everything in the Valley than in the city.

Did you always intend to pursue art professionally?

I started college as a management major. I loved art and creativity but somehow believed I wasn’t good enough to pursue a career in art. Within a year I realized management wasn’t for me. So I followed my gut and switch to art. It was the first leap of faith I ever took and I am so, so glad I did!

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Photos by Caro Arévalo.

What materials do you use for your artwork?

I see art making as a love letter to earth, and that influences the supplies I use. For my paintings I only work with watercolor pigments made from earth and rocks harvested sustainably. I’ve also been learning how to make my own watercolors from dirt and rock. I daydream about working with inky cap mushroom ink instead of India ink for my paintings.

Tell us about the research that fuels your art.

Microscopic observation plays a big part. I have a space dedicated to my microscopes in my home studio. I love seeing the patterns and geometry of plants and mushrooms. Reading books, surfing the internet, and reaching out to universities, mycologists, herbalists, and biologists is also key. I love this part of my process as it helps me to learn more about nature and its infinity.

Woodstock resident and artist Caro Arévalo and her watercolor piece “The Evolution of Plants.”
Woodstock resident and artist Caro Arévalo and her watercolor piece “The Evolution of Plants.” Photos by Caro Arévalo.

Where can people see your work in person?

I just scored my first wholesale client, Lovewild Design in Woodstock, which sells my moon calendars. This year I want to focus on creating more prints and products because it has long been my wish to see my work in HV shops next to the work of other local artists I love. My prints and paintings are also available on my website (see address below).

We hear that you created packaging for a cacao company in Kingston.

Yes! I designed new packaging for Cacao Laboratory’s element cacao bars. I also did the mural of the cacao tree at their Kingston shop. Last summer, Catskill Fungi and I got together to offer a foraging and art experience at Maverick Concert Hall. There is so much room to collaborate and I am eager to offer my art and products and co-create workshops and gatherings with the community.

Do you think you’ll ever move back to Peru?

We try to visit as often as we can. But so far, we’ve found a beautiful community in the Hudson Valley and we are excited to see where life will take us, maybe including growing roots here.

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Instagram: @caro.arevalo

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